It was a long and restless night. Only brief periods of hopeful sleep broke the tension of my mind which was racing with thoughts, worries, fears and “to-do’s”. Somehow it all seems to come down to this: fear of rejection and abandonment caused by my weaknesses, shortcomings, my imperfections.
Have these fears ever haunted you? Do they terrorize you today?
It all began with my father.
All accounts and childhood experiences express rejection and in time, abandonment altogether. In my pre-teen years, that reality didn’t seem to faze me much. I was young, energetic, filled with ambition, excitement, hope, and dreams. And somehow, in my heart and spirit, I knew that I could make a better life for myself than what I was experiencing at that time.
As time marched on and the teenage years began, slowly and quietly I began to unravel. By then peer pressure was an element of my life alongside the pressure to maintain my straight A’s scholastic record while losing interest in both. My mother was deeply entrenched in her survival, fighting to make a bad, even brutal marriage work, making a living and juggling her own fears. Before long, I was just there, existing in silence, huddled up in my garden, minding my own business and caring little to venture outside of that comfortable space.
By my early 20’s, that vibrant little boy, the one filled with hope and expectation of life, had become an angry, rage filled young man. I loathed myself, my life and my parents and my actions were self defeating, destructive and life threatening. As deaths grip clamped down on my life, I recalled a bible verse that had been spoken over my life for years. Jeremiah 29:11 which promises” a future and a hope” rang through the halls of my mind. Slowly, I woke up from deadly stupor and decided to press forth and rediscover that youthful hope. And I did.
It was short lived. Cancer knocked on my door and then occupied 5 long, painful, life threatening years of my life. But with it came yet a new and deeper realization and understanding of that promise. By the grace of the God I had known and loved throughout my life, I survived, better yet, overcame cancer. And again, I set my sights to build that life of a future and hope promised me.
Somehow, in the midst of it all I KNEW it was there, waiting for me to seize it, to claim it as my own and then walk it out and I was now more determined than ever that I would.
I was on my way. Overall, life was good and looking even better. The months before my 40th birthday, a date I had declared for many years that I would never see or celebrate, I was experiencing that childhood joy as I could only remember from the vague memories of my early youth. My heart sang, my spirit danced, my soul rejoiced. Hope reigned eternal and I knew then more than ever before that in fact God had given me a future and a hope for a better life.
Then one day, just a few weeks after my 40th birthday, while presenting my thriving youth organization to the local city council for an annual funding opportunity, the rug was pulled out from under me once again. It was completely unexpected; a blind-side of epic proportions. The mayor made a public declaration proclaiming the job training program I had launched and resulting bakery the teens had founded were unfair competition, his included. In an instant the favorable and friendly council fell silent and denied my request. I was given no opportunity to respond. I was humiliated before my peers, before my community. Worse yet, I was rejected and abandoned.
It only took one year before I and my youth program collapsed.
And for a year to follow, I held my head in shame, hid in my little world again feeling absolutely worthless, invaluable and hopeless.
Slowly, I again picked up the pieces. But my life was like a boxed puzzle. It was laid out on the table for all to see. The pieces scattered about with little sections put together yet without any sense or unity. To top it off pieces were missing that could not be found. I searched, fervently and frantically. I even crammed a few odd pieces into the empty spaces hoping they would fit. They didn’t. The pain lingered and though on the surface, life was again looking hopeful like a nearly complete puzzle, inside I still felt fatally broken.
Though much has been accomplished in the last 4 years of my life toward healing and restoration, much remains. I still feel a very raw nerve of fear; fear that for some unexplained, unexpected reason, because of some perceived or even true flaw, I will be again kicked to the curb without any warning or preparation.
And so, last night, circumstances again, though not truly threatening, scared me and I wrestled with this lingering fear. But I awoke this morning with another promise in my thoughts. “I will NEVER leave you or forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
That is why I write this to you today.
Rejection and abandonment may have visited your life; possibly more than once. They may haunt you every day, lingering ever near in the shadows. I’ll tell you two things. One, they are your enemies. They will destroy you and everything around you. They will erode the foundation of your life and leave you huddled up alone and in ruins. But the second thing I’ll tell you is the true good news. People may have rejected and abandoned you and in all likelihood someone will again. BUT…the One who created you, the One who knit you together in your mother’s womb has promised to NEVER reject or forsake you. And on top of that He promised to give you a future and a hope.
So for all of us who shiver in fear, we have a warm blanket to wrap around us.
We have a safe place in which to rest and seek shelter. A place where we can find healing and restoration. A place where we glean strength and power over the enemies that seek to destroy us.
Yes, we may always feel twinges of these fears. In some ways, they may always be near. But today, I want to choose and you can choose to rest in the promise of the Creator.
Do you need rest from the fear? Do you, today, need to find that place of comfort and hope? Do you need to know that your life is more than the rejections you’ve endured; that you are worthy of love and acceptance? Let me know and I’ll gladly join you in the journey of healing and restoration so that you and I both can be all that we were masterfully designed and intended to be. We can’t allow those enemies to keep us from our promise!